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Unpacking the Role of Anatomy in Flexibility: Why Your Body Shape Matters

Disclosure: I am not flexible! Flexibility is not something that comes naturally to me. All movements that I am able to perform today that requires a high level of flexibility, did not happened over night. The desire to have a more springy, supple, flexible body, left me frustrated in many, MANY occasions, UNTIL I was able to deepen my understanding on the subject.

Social media can be a great resource for fitness inspiration and motivation, but it can also offer false promises when it comes to flexibility. Our bodies are unique with different limitations based on their anatomy, prior injuries, and overall health. Flexibility, like other physical attributes, exists on a spectrum. Comparing oneself to unrealistic standards can lead to frustration and even injury. It's best to focus on gradual progress and safe stretching techniques, rather than trying to replicate poses that is achievable only by a percentage of the population.

Before falling for that $ paid online program that is going to help you feel more flexible than EVER in only 7 days!!!! Let's weight a few factors.

Unpacking the Role of Anatomy in Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the ability of a joint or series of joints to move through a full range of motion with ease and without discomfort. It is an important component of physical fitness that allows us to perform daily activities and engage in physical activities without experiencing pain or injury. Research indicates that flexibility is largely determined by an individual's anatomy, which is influenced by genetics.

Genetics is one of the primary factors that determine an individual's flexibility. Allow me to repeat myself: Genetics is one of the primary factors that determine an individual's flexibility. The genes that an individual inherits can influence the length and elasticity of muscles, the structure and size of joints, and the elasticity of connective tissue. One of the main anatomical factors that contribute to flexibility is joint structure. The structure of a joint, including its shape and size, can influence the range of motion it allows. For example, ball-and-socket joints, such as the hip joint, allow for a wider range of motion than hinge joints, such as the elbow joint. Additionally, the size and shape of the bones that form the joint can affect the range of motion. Individuals with longer and thinner bones may be more flexible than those with shorter and thicker bones.

Muscle length is another important factor. A muscle that is too short or tight can limit the range of motion at a joint, while a muscle that is too long or weak can result in instability and increased risk of injury, although lifestyle factors such as exercise and stretching can also play a role. Connective tissue elasticity is another important factor that contributes to an individual's flexibility. Connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments, provides support and stability to joints and muscles. The elasticity of these tissues can influence the range of motion at a joint. Connective tissue that is too stiff or inflexible can limit the range of motion, while connective tissue that is too loose or weak can result in instability and increased risk of injury.

Regular exercise, including activities that promote flexibility such as Pilates, can help to maintain and improve flexibility by increasing the length of muscles and improving the elasticity of connective tissue.

Non-genetic factors that affects flexibility

Age - Newborns are extremely flexible. Flexibility in the body reduces as you age. After 55 years of age, collagen production reduces, and tissues start losing water and affecting flexibility level.

Body Structure and Built - If you have more muscle mass, it may be difficult to stretch or move limbs and muscles.

Gender - Women in general are more flexible than men.

The temperature and time of the day - Warmer climates improve flexibility, and people are more flexible in the afternoons than in the mornings.

Stress level - Stress is known to tighten muscles and decrease physical flexibility. Working on mental stress levels can help the muscles relax and improve your flexibility levels.

Hydration - Water is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Dehydration can cause inflexibility and limit your range of motion. Make sure you drink adequate water to improve flexibility. Don't forget to consider factors as temperature and your level of daily activity when calculating the appropriate amount of water intake.

Muscles need tension in order to maintain their strength and function. If a muscle is not used regularly and subjected to tension, it can become weak and atrophied. This can lead to a loss of flexibility and mobility...which by the way, I'll discuss in a future post.

This tension helps to strengthen the muscles and maintain their flexibility and range of motion. However, it is important to note that not all tension is created equal. Too much tension or tension applied in the wrong way can lead to injury and pain. It is important to listen to your body and stretch and exercise in a way that feels comfortable and safe for you.

Tension is what allows the muscle fibers to lengthen and stretch, leading to increased flexibility and mobility. Stretching slowly and gradually, incorporating Pilates, mobility drills, and static stretching, allowing the muscles to adapt, is the best way to gain range of motion over time. With consistent practice and dedication, most people can achieve a level of flexibility that is suitable for their needs and goals.

Keep moving, keep flexible (including your mind)





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